Beijing Rotary in Morel

Dinner instead of lunch

This time, Beijing Rotary in Morel Restaurant as our club is doing some dinner evenings instead of the usual lunches in Kempinski.
We had a nice crowd, many nationalities with some guests who were interested to listen to our speaker of the evening, Michael.

Michael, our speaker

Michael is a game addict and enthusiast programmer since age 11-12.

After a career in finance & investment industry, in 2003  back to China to join his beloved game industry as Chief Operating Officer of Netease (the second biggest Chinese game company); since then been making games, publishing games and investing into many game companies. Left Netease to start his own company, now being restructured.
Speaker Michael Tong gave us an overview of the video game industry with added spicy controversies and special surprising aspects for people not familiar with the industry, e.g. its size compared to movie and music industry, how people can acquire knowledge from games, and how it is affecting pop culture. For many of the “older” people, a new world – except if they have kids…

Morel’s Restaurant and Café

As always, Chef Renaat did not disappoint. We had a good deal for this great menu, most went for the menu. a very few chose from A La Carte.
Morel’s Dinner menu:

Starter: Fishers Wife Salad
Flemish Vegetable Soup
Main course

Medallion of Beef tenderloin with mushroom sauce
Red Snapper Provençale style

Dessert: Pancakes with Ice cream & Fresh Fruit Salad
WHITE wine: Chile, Luis Felipe Edwards Chardonnay 2015
RED Wine: French, Château de France, Côtes de Bordeaux 2013
Local beer and soft drinks.


Old China Hands Lunch 4 September

Back in numbers!

We had our Old China Hands Lunch 4 September with a very nice attendance: 30 plus one child! That is the best we had this year. Of course we miss the thirty something of our members still stuck abroad.

Our friend Kent brought a big tiramisu as a desert for all. It was wonderful. He also got the praise from Chef Renaat!

Next lunch

Planned for Friday 2 October, right in the middle of the October 1 Golden Week. It’s a gamble as always: no excuse you need to work. Bored at home, as many (like me) still avoid travel and the annoyance of being targeted as “dangerous foreign virus carriers”.
Anyway, Morel’s Restaurant will be open, so let’s go for it!

New Beijing Workers Stadium


Few people seem to be aware we will have a new Beijing Workers Stadium, expected to be delivered by December 2022, to be ready for the July 2023 Opening Ceremonies for the 2023 Asian Cup Games. Many were confused why the old stadium was being demolished starting on 5 August 2020.

See how the Stadium looked like and the razing that took a few days only. They used water cannons to reduce the dust.
Well, blame the usual lack of communication by the Beijing Government. Some even say the secrecy is due to the fact the area is “owned by the military”.
The new stadium will be at the same location but with improvements to meet the needs of world-class professional football field.
However it is a fact there is a total lack of clarity how the area will be transformed as it is the location of many restaurants, discos, KTV and other outlets.
Also unclear is what will happen with the Gongti Indoor Stadium: they just started building a big fence around it.
I first reported on it here.

As far as I know most if not all of the venues will be closed at some point. That would also include Legend Beer, among others. It is said “The Workers Stadium will also become an open urban public space for mass sports and cultural activities and a new vitality center of the city.”

A long history and end of life

I have so many stories about that stadium. It was also my training ground to prepare for my marathons, having the complete stadium with its running track only for myself.

The main structure of the Workers Stadium had reached its service life.
It was designed by the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design and Research and was completed and put into use in 1959. It was the largest comprehensive stadium in the eastern part of Beijing. It had a standard football field, a 400-meter rubber track among others. The main building was 64,000 sqm. it was the venue for the first National Games and other large-scale sports events.

According to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Planning and Natural Resources, the main building of the Stadium was a concrete structure with a design life of 50 years. Since the 1990s, three structural reinforcements and one facility renovation have been carried out. Among them, in order to host the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the Workers’ Stadium has undergone comprehensive structural reinforcement in accordance with the 7-degree seismic fortification standard (the Beijing area is an 8-degree seismic fortification area) – the service life is 12 years. At present, the main structure of the Beijing Workers Stadium had reached the end of its service life, and there are potential safety hazards and obsolete facilities and equipment.

By 2018, the National Construction Engineering Quality Supervision and Inspection Center conducted a house inspection and appraisal of the construction. The conclusion was the overall structural safety and seismic resistance of the building seriously did not meet the relevant national standards. It also did not meet the requirements of the Asian Cup and other major international professional football matches. Therefore, it was urgent to upgrade.

The new stadium

After the transformation of the new Beijing Workers Stadium, the elliptical shape of the main building will remain basically unchanged, and it will meet the needs of the internal circular passage while maintaining the proportion of the facade.
At the same time, the reconstruction will keep the original characteristic elements of the construction body basically unchanged, and protect and restore the important characteristic elements, such as flagpoles, gate posts, sculptures, and architectural decoration components.

See a few pictures showing the future stadium and the surrounding area. While some may be “artist rendering” most of the existing structures in the area seem to be gone except for the two main buildings of former “Gongti Yibai”.

You can also see the large new underground facilities with the connection to the new subway lines (should be Line 3 and Line 17, all currently under construction).
See also a view on the new facility being built by CSCEC on the East side of the Stadium: “China Philharmonic Orchestra Concert Hall and Rehearsal Facilities”.
Nobody talks about this…
And a lot is going on also in the South East corner of the Gongti area. No idea what is coming there.

Sources, among other:

I keep you posted!

Discovered Chez Soi

Belgian National Day

Because of Belgian National Day in Beijing I discovered Chez Soi. My first impression for some reason was not good so I did not attend the “event”. I wonder if anybody turned up actually.
I know the location, formerly it was a coffee shop where I went once. That time I was disappointed they did not have a decaf.

By the way, Belgian National Day is normally not celebrated in Beijing, the embassy seems to ignore it completely. as they are not very social anyway (to put it midly). We usually celebrate “National Day” on 15 November, King’s Day, when people are around, unlike in July.
The King’s Feast (Dutch: Koningsfeest, French: Fête du Roi, German: Festtag des Königs) has been celebrated in Belgium on November 15 since 1866. Since 2001, the Belgian Federal Parliament has held a ceremony in honor of the King, in the presence of members of the Belgian Royal Family and other dignitaries. So Says Wikipedia.


Another try

On 8 August I wanted to be alone, quietly, to read a bit. So I thought I try Chez Soi, will be quiet.

That was a “miscalculation”. As it happens, some ladies recognized me and we had a lively conversation in French. I also met a lady from the Walloon section in our embassy, she is the one who put up the nice poster. And of course Stéphanie, co-founder. (Need to make a better pic next time of us two…)
The place is actually pretty OK, food reasonable, service very friendly, so my first impression was wrong.
Their address is misleading – blame Beijing administration – as it is officially on Gongti Dong Lu but the location is actually in Dongdaqiao Lu. You need to really look for it. See the pics, easy to find because of the book shop… Once you know.

Roots and Shoots

Our Tuesday lunch

During the lunch of Tuesday 18 August the Rotary Club of Beijing had the pleasure to learn more about the work of the world-famous environmental NGO, Roots & Shoots, their plans for the future and how Rotarians can get involved.
It was a very interesting speech on environmental issues and in addition it is in full accordance with the latest area of focus of Rotary International.

Rotarians and guests were introduced to the inspiration behind Roots and Shoots – Dr. Jane Goodall’s studies on the chimpanzees of Tanzania – and the importance of generating interest, passion and knowledge amongst the world’s youths to protect and improve our environment.

The Roots and Shoots organization, while highly successful in the long-term, faces short-term challenges in organizing events and undertaking projects due to multiple COVID-19 related restrictions.
The speakers were Issy Dickson and Leia Qianlei from Beijing Roots & Shoots.

In 1994, world renowned primatologist and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall established the first Roots & Shoots group in China in order to build on her vision of placing power and responsibility for creating solutions for big challenges in the hands of young people.
Roots & Shoots has now more than 25,000 members across every province, municipality and autonomous region in Mainland China, all of whom uphold our three pillars of helping people, animals and the environment. Currently more than ever, protecting the planet and all who live on it is absolutely crucial.
In the words of Dr. Jane Goodall, “Every individual matters, every individual has a role to play, every individual can make a difference.”

Rotary Club of Beijing Welcomes Two New Members

The Rotary Club of Beijing heartily welcomed two new members to its ranks during the lunch at the Kempinski Hotel. New Rotarians, Christine and Ben were inducted into the club after Club President Danny read the responsibilities of Rotary Club members. They also received their official Rotary International pin. The new members helped to read the Four-Way Test.